It appears to be the season for celebrities to come clean about getting clean. Ben Affleck regurgitated to the Times about his pain and remorse. There’s been a renaissance about Brad Pitt’s scrubbing booze and dope from his life ever since his Oscar for playing a guy who loved booze and dope and a little ultra violence in a Quentin Tarantino film. Between periods of a wretched Canadiens game there was Nate Thompson and his wife talking about the abyss of his addictions to alcohol and pain pills.
The story is familiar. I was an asshole. My marriage was either destroyed or walked a tightrope and now it’s great. Sobriety is great. I want to proselytize about the nirvana of sipping cranberry sodas and not sucking powder up my nose, or chewing pills or smoking weed or crack or smack. And the tale ends with my redemption. I’m clean and I’m not too proud to tell you what an asshole I was and if unbuttoning my blistered and scarred heart will help you and my box office or sweater sales and next contract, I’m delivered. I’m just a regular Joe with problems like you.
You know what? I don’t give a shit.
Fact is, you had millions of dollars to play with, millions to drink, snort or swallow. Dealers were probably lined up to sell you whatever. Fancy doctors with fancy fees happily wrote you scripts to go up, come down, go sideways.
Millions to pay for child care while you were too fucked up to do it yourself. Millions to pay the lawyers when you got busted for driving into a tree or when the spouse said get away from me. Millions for the best rehab and detox. You always had a roof to sleep under and a Mercedes to hop in and score. Millions to pay the delivery boy.
You never crashed in an alley, never begged for a bag, never ran short, never robbed your brother to pacify a craving, never sold your body for a fix. Never let yourself be brutalized on video for Pornhub for a fix.
I’m not crying for you. I would care if the guy that used to shovel my stairs when he was sober enough to find a shovel, would tell the tale you told some lonely hearts journalist. Or my ex who loved to start every day stoned and end every night stoned and spent the hours in between zombified on weed and, if lucky, half a dozen glasses of wine.
Or the great host up the street that lights up as soon as dinner’s over, a glass in one hand, a blunt in the other, and gets angrier and less patient and more aggressive as the THC and his blood alcohol levels soar. Man, if he came up and said, “Sorry I’ve been an obnoxious jerk for so many years while I was thinking I was the life of the party and the coolest guy in plaid around.”
So, celebrity confessor, save it. I don’t care. Keep your mouth shut and take the cash you’re not spending on your habit of choice and give it to a rehab to pay for those who don’t get their sorry tales of abuse in the papers and on the screen, who suffer addiction and abstinence without an audience, counting their every dollar.
You need to confess? Find a priest or a friend who cares. Forgo the poor little me rich redemption melodrama that inflates your ego and celebrity.
Go out into the real world and do something for someone else. You might learn the reality of suffering. And keep it to yourself.